I will hold my hands up and admit I’m not exactly the calmest person in the world… In fact, when I fall victim to stress it overtakes me completely.
It used to be messy… I would launch into full blown panic attacks complete with tears and irrational tantrums, but overtime I’ve found my reaction to stress changing. Nowadays when I get stressed I find myself cutting off from my surroundings… I can’t control it but I start to feel nothing but numbness, and can’t bring myself to do anything. Surprisingly, I actually preferred the breakdowns, because at least then I was feeling and expressing something; feeling nothing at all makes me feel indescribably empty.
The good thing about it now though, is that I’ve had so many years with my bad coping mechanisms that I’ve now gotten better at how to control them. I still can’t quite manage how I react when I’m overly stressed, but what I can do is help myself cope with my reactions. I now know that when I feel it looming I have to embrace and acknowledge what’s happening…
I’m not okay. I’m going through a stressful period and shutting down. But it is only temporary. I am going to be okay. I just need to give it time.
You see, it’s okay to admit that things aren’t going right from time to time, you just have to also admit that they will eventually get better. Yes, we all have low-points, but the good thing about hitting any kind of rock bottom is that things can only go up from there. After doing this… well, it can be different for everyone, and obviously I can only speak from my experience, but I’ll usually then tackle my emotions in one of the following ways…
Talk to Someone… (I won’t lie, this person is usually my mum). When stressed we’re often irrational and exaggerate situations in our head that realistically aren’t half as bad as we thought they were, and my mum is the perfect person to remind me how solvable my stressful situations actually are. However, you don’t have to talk to them about your problems if you think that will make it worse, but rather just seek out a distraction, and try and shift your mind’s focus.
Distance Yourself from the Stressful Situation… This is probably one of the most important ones for me. If a situation has stressed me out (and it doesn’t have a looming deadline), the best thing I can do is remove myself from the situation, usually with some sort of self-care task. I go have a bath, or a nap, or watch a cheesy movie in bed… anything that will calm me down. The calmer I am, the quicker I recover, and the more likely I am to get back to the task at hand (this time in a less stressful manner).
Power Through… This is often a last resort for me as the other two work better, but sometimes the thought of not finishing a task is what gets me stressed in the first place. Powering through for a stressful couple of hours and getting the task done relieves me of all stress once it’s all finished. Yes, those couple of hours feel like the worst thing that can possibly happen to me at the time, but afterwards I thank myself that I went through them, and I can sit back and smile.
We all get stressed from time to time, and we all have different ways of dealing with it, whether they’re healthy or unhealthy ways. The real importance comes in recognising how your mind reacts to that stress, and where you need to go from there.
Do you have any specific ways for dealing with stress? Let me know!
Lots of love,
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